Inside a $15 Million Weekend

by Natasha Wolff | June 9, 2015 11:23 am

The 35th Annual Auction Napa Valley[1] lived up to its reputation not only for serving some of the best food and wine in the country, but for raising an enormous amount of money this June in support of community health and children’s education programs in Napa County.

In reference to the $15.8 million raised, David Pearson, the 2015 honorary Auction Napa Valley chair and CEO of Opus One, said, “Good friends, welcoming hospitality, renowned Napa Valley wines, culinary expressions of our gardens and the humbling generosity of our bidders, vintners and volunteers came together over these last four days to create an extraordinary Auction experience.”

Beginning on June 4, vintners hosted Welcome Parties that took place at top wineries[2], including Trefethen Family Vineyards, Shafer Vineyards, Rudd Oakville Estate and Inglenook. On Friday afternoon, Kathryn and Craig Hall of HALL hosted the Barrel Auction portion of the event, which raised a record $1.9 million through the sale of wine futures.

Inside the 35th Annual Auction Napa Valley

President of Bulgari U.S. Daniel Paltridge

There were many celebratory events, including a sumptuous dinner on Friday evening at Ma(i)sonry in Yountville, hosted by Blackbird Vineyards and Bulgari. Blackbird founder Michael Polenske was joined by newly appointed President of Bulgari U.S. Daniel Paltridge and San Francisco Director Daniel Diaz in welcoming the intimate group for extraordinary wine parings and an expertly prepared meal by Chef Victor Scargle of Bardessono’s Lucy Restaurant & Bar. 

The main event, Saturday’s Live Auction Celebration, took place at the picturesque Meadowood Napa Valley, where over 850 guests enjoyed an alfresco lunch prepared by Chef Michael Chiarello[3], followed by the 51 lot auction of Napa Valley’s most fabled wines as well as some very special experiences.  The most notable highlight included The Chair’s Lot, donated by the Opus One Team, which included a 35-year vertical wine collection of Opus One magnums and a two-week tour and visits with celebrated winemaking families in Napa Valley and Europe. It went for $800,000 only to double and then triple, selling to three different bidders and raising $2.4 million, becoming the wine event’s top grossing lot of all time. 

Raising a glass at the 35th Annual Auction Napa Valley

Raising a glass at the 35th Annual Auction Napa Valley

Perhaps second to that was Lot 31, an effort by Raymond Vineyards and DuJour’s summer issue cover star John Legend that included six etched bottles of Napa Valley wine and a dinner party for 30 with a private performance by Legend. Prior to the sale of the lot, which fetched $850,000, Legend performed his hit song “All of Me.” Other top grossing lots included those from Screaming Eagle, Staglin Family Vineyards and Colgin Cellars among others. The evening capped off with dinner under the stars, prepared by renowned Chef Pierre Gagnaire.

Auction Napa Valley and The Napa Valley Vintners have raised more than $145 million in support of the health and wellbeing of the Napa Valley community.

All photographs by Alexander Rubin at Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley

  1. Annual Auction Napa Valley:
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  3. Chef Michael Chiarello:

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